After a bunch of politicking, the White House and US Air Force have announced that it has placed an order for 2 new 747-8i aircraft to replace the aging 747s currently used to transport the President.
The deal amounts to $3.9 billion and according to the White House this reflects a $1.4 billion dollar reduction in cost vs. the original bid tendered by Boeing. Original pricing suggested that the cost of the 2 new birds would be between 5 and 6 billion dollars. The cost covers all the retrofit work needed for the 2 aircraft.
The 2 planes have already been manufactured and have been kept in storage by Boeing after the original purchaser defaulted on the order and never took delivery of the aircraft.
The Air Force will take delivery of the aircraft and work with Boeing to carry out EXTENSIVE modifications to meet the security and safety demands that come with carrying the President.
It will still be a few years before we see the new beauty in the skies. Potentially during President Trump’s second term…. 😉
With airlines announcing new service to Paine Field, it will become easier than ever for ‘Avgeeks’ to reach one of the Meccas of Plane Spotting and the home to one of Boeing’s major campuses. It’s only taken 80 years to get us to this point!
In the past few days, United announced that they will begin operating flights to Paine Field in October 2018. Alaska made their announcement about service to the field earlier this year. It also appears that Allegiant will serve ‘PAE’ as well, but no official announcement from them as yet.
United’s announcement stated that they will bring six daily flights from Denver and San Francisco. Alaska thus far has announced 9 daily flights, but did not indicate where they would be coming from.
The Queen Of The Skies With Mt. Rainier In The Background
The re-opening of Paine Field to commercial operations has been a hotly contested topic in the Mukilteo area where the airport is located. Equal amounts of voices were for and against opening PAE to airlines. However, after the debates and legal challenges, the path has been laid to bring passengers to the field.
For us plane spotter types, this means it will be easier than ever to reach the birthplace of Boeing heavies and enjoy the views along the runway. What used to be a flight to Seattle, followed by a drive that is usually mired in heavy traffic from Seattle to Everett can now become a flight to PAE, followed by a 10 minute hotel shuttle bus ride to the Hilton Garden Inn located next to the field.
Earlier today, Boeing released its forecast for the commercial aviation market for the next 20 years. This typically discusses what Boeing sees coming for the industry including demand for certain type of aircraft and the demographics of future customers.
What was noticeably absent from the 2017 version of this forecast was any talk of the 747. They have acknowledged that the 747 platform is being wound down, without any serious orders forthcoming.
For the first time in decades, Boeing is now looking to a future driven only by 2-engine aircraft, primarily the 737, 787 and upcoming 777x platforms. The forecast suggest that the aircraft market over the next 20 years will require over $6 trillion in new aircraft deliveries.
D-ABYT prepares for her first ever flight, a B1 test flight at Paine Field.
Of course this makes all the sense in the world since technology has allowed 2 engines to do the work of 4, and deliver passengers to their destinations in more comfort and safety than ever before. But for the aviation romanticists in the world that have always seen the 747 as the most beautiful aircraft in the sky, such a sobering moment doesn’t pass easily.
In their comments, Boeing stated that they were simply being realists in their projections and see that the era of 4 engine aircraft is drawing to an end. I guess all that’s left is to enjoy the Queen of the Skies for as long we can….
Related: Lufthansa 747-400 Gallery
Lufthansa 747-8i Gallery
This Saturday, October 29, Lufthansa will be broadcasting via Facebook the retirement ceremonies surrounding the last 737 in the fleet.
Her last day of work is scheduled to be on October 29th with a few roundtrip flights from Frankfurt. As of now, she is scheduled to fly to Geneva, Stuttgart and Nuremberg. The final landing of the 737 is scheduled to take place at 7:40p when she returns from Nuremberg (LH153) and the simulcast will capture the moment. Tickets are still available for these final flights.
To tune into the broadcast, please use this link (you will be redirected to Facebook). You can also track events on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag of #ThankYou737.
One of the retired workhorses of the LH Fleet…..
There’s a lot attention being paid to this final 737 due to the fact that Lufthansa was the launch customer for the aircraft nearly 50 years ago and is responsible for the aircraft’s existence.
Lufthansa approached Boeing in the 1960s looking to replace a propeller driven regional fleet with jets so that they can better serve their European destinations. Boeing and Lufthansa announced February 19, 1965 that LH would be the launch customer, and almost exactly 3 years later on February 10, 1968, the first 737 joined the fleet. In all, 155 737 aircraft had been part of the LH fleet at one time or another over the last 48 years.
Had it not been for LH, there’s no guarantee that the 737 would have ever been developed and become one of history’s best selling and most popular aircraft.
Lufthansa gives birth to the 737
Lufthansa’s 737 retirement schedule
Earlier this week, Lufthansa took the final step to retire a long serving member of their fleet when they arranged for the sale of their last 737-300 aircraft. For those of you keeping score at home, they are:
D-ABEC Entered service on July 9, 1991
D-ABED Entered service on July 12, 1991
D-ABEE Entered service on July 18, 1991
D-ABEF Entered service on July 31, 1991
D-ABEH Entered service on August 15, 1991
D-ABEK Entered service on November 21, 1991
D-ABEN Entered service on January 16, 1992
These final 7 have been sold to Automatic LLC, a firm specializing in leasing aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered to Automatic LLC between October and December and will be refit for further sale or leasing.
To see what a Lufthansa 737 looks like along with all the other Lufthansa aircraft, please visit my Lufthansa Gallery on Aero-Shots.com.
H/T: FlyerTalk / Oliver2002